【英语财经】中国工业企业盈利能力呈现分化 China industry profit margins set to remain under pressure

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2016-3-29 22:30

小艾摘要: Dragged down by weak heavy industry and an ailing state-owned sector, industrial profitability in China fell last year to its lowest level since 2003 while persistent overcapacity is likely to perpetu ...
China industry profit margins set to remain under pressure
Dragged down by weak heavy industry and an ailing state-owned sector, industrial profitability in China fell last year to its lowest level since 2003 while persistent overcapacity is likely to perpetuate downward pressures on profit margins, a new study has found.

Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at research firm Oxford Economics, found that the average profit margin among some 328,000 firms in China’s official industrial survey – which includes all state-owned enterprises and those non state-owned firms that post annual sales in excess of Rmb20m – fell to 5.8 per cent in 2015, down from a recent high of 7.6 per cent in 2010 (see chart).

However, this headline number concealed a broad divergence. State-owned companies are likely to have registered a continuation last year of the weakening returns on assets they have suffered since 2010, while non state companiesappear to have held up better (see chart), Mr Kuijs said.

The divergence was partly down to the fact that hard-hit sectors such as mining, steel, other metals and chemicals – all of which were affected by a softening real estate market - hold a high concentration of state enterprises, owned both by the central and local-level governments.

Within such capital intensive sectors, some distress was pronounced. Steel companies, for instance, posted an average profit margin of 0.8 per cent last year, down from a recent high of 3.9 per cent in 2010. Chemical companies’ average profit margin last year was 5.3 per cent, down from 7.7 per cent in 2010, and “other metals” profit margins were 2.7 per cent, down from 5.6 per cent in 2010 (see chart).

Looking forward, the pain was likely to continue, Mr Kuijs predicted. “Employment has already been cut significantly in the badly hit sectors. Nonetheless, due to still high investment levels, capacity expansion in industry remains too fast, depressing the profit outlook.”

Overall, in the two years to the end of 2015, some 3.9m jobs were lost from industry, including 873,000 shed in coal mining and 533,000 in steel.

But the problem is that although such cuts are significant, the overcapacity overhang remains greater. The European Chamber of Commerce in China recently published estimates of capacity utilisation rates for steel, aluminium, cement, refining, flat glass and paper industries as being between 65 and 85 per cent. In all cases, utilisation rates slumped since 2008, according to the Chamber’s estimates.

Take steel as an example. The official plan is to cut between 100m-150m tons of capacity over the next five years. But this huge number only accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of current overall capacity, meaning that more will probably remain to be cut after - and if - this five-year target is achieved.

一项新的研究发现,受重工业疲软以及国有企业境况不佳的拖累,去年中国工业企业的盈利能力下滑至2003年以来的最低水平,而持续的产能过剩可能给利润率带来持久下行压力。

研究公司牛津经济研究院(Oxford Economics)的亚洲经济负责人高路易(Louis Kuijs)发现,中国官方工业调查的约32.8万家公司——包括所有国企以及年销售额超过2000万人民币的非国有企业——的平均利润率,从近年高点——2010年的7.6%下滑至2015年的5.8%(见图)。

然而,这一整体数字掩盖了不同类型企业之间的巨大差异。高路易表示,去年,国有企业很可能延续了自2010年以来资产回报率下滑的趋势,而非国有企业的资产回报率似乎保持得较好(见图)。

这种差异部分源于这样的现实,即采矿、钢铁、其他金属及化学品等遭受重创的行业——都受到房地产市场疲软的影响——大量集中了中央或地方政府控制的国有企业。

这些资本密集的行业内部,窘境已经显现。例如,钢铁企业的平均利润率已从2010年3.9%的近期高点下滑至去年的0.8%。化工企业的平均利润率从2010年的7.7%下滑至去年的5.3%,“其他金属”企业的平均利润率则从2010年的5.6%下滑至2.7%(见图)。

高路易预计,未来这种艰难境况很可能将持续。“在遭受重创的行业,就业岗位已经大幅削减。尽管如此,由于投资水平仍居高位,工业产能扩张依旧太快,这将压低利润前景。”

总的来说,自2014年初至2015年底的两年时间里,工业部门削减了约390万个就业岗位,包括87.3万个煤矿业岗位以及53.3万个钢铁业岗位。

但问题在于,虽然减员数量巨大,产能过剩的情况依然突出。中国欧盟商会(European Chamber of Commerce in China)最近发布了一份评估报告,认为中国钢铁、铝、水泥、炼油、平板玻璃及造纸等行业的产能利用率在65%至85%之间。该商会估计,自2008年以来,所有这些行业的产能利用率都出现了大幅下滑。

以钢铁业为例。官方计划未来5年削减1亿至1.5亿吨产能。但这一巨大数量仅占当前总产能的10%至15%,这意味着在这项5年目标实现后(如果能实现),很可能还要继续削减更多产能。

译者/隆祥

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